Slapped down over hospital gridlock, Dickson vows to keep fighting
BUDERIM MP Steve Dickson says he will continue to push for the start of pre-construction roadworks around the new Kawana hospital despite having been slapped down by the State Government.
Mr Dickson yesterday called for the State Government to immediately invest $150m in pre-construction works for the Mooloolah River Interchange, saying it was vital for preventing traffic logjams around the new Sunshine Coast University Hospital after it opened next year.
He conceded the road could not be ready in time for the hospital opening, saying earth works to lay a foundation for the new road would need to be laid about two years ahead of the actual road construction to allow the works time to settle and provide a stable base for the road.
However, he said that delay meant it was important to start the works as soon as possible to minimise the gap between the opening of the hospital and the opening of the road.
That call found little sympathy with Queensland Roads Minister Mark Bailey, whose office issued a statement saying the timing of works was “subject to competing priorities and available State funds”.
“That competition has become more challenging as a consequence of more than $600 million having been cut from transport funding during the term of the Newman government,” a spokesman for Mr Bailey said.
The spokesman pointed to a $22 million project aimed improving traffic flow around the new hospital as a stop-gap until the new road could be built.
Mr Dickson today said he would not play politics on the issue and would keep pushing for the pre-construction work to begin.
“I’m happy to take responsibility for it,” he said. “If they want to blame me then go for it.”
However, he said that didn’t change the fact traffic was expected to increase sharply once the hospital was complete and the new road would be needed urgently.
“No-one’s going to be able to click their fingers and go ‘we have it’,” he said.
“What’s going to happen if it’s you or me or your mum in an ambulance trying to get to the hospital (in a traffic jam).”
Asked what steps he had taken to convince the Government of the situation’s urgency, Mr Dickson said he had left messages for Treasurer Curtis Pitt this week, and repeatedly spoken in parliament and in the media about the need for the road. He had also publicly called on the government and Nicklin independent MP Peter Wellington to move on the issue.
However, he conceded he had not actually spoken directly to Mr Wellington or anyone in the government to impress the urgency of the issue on them.